Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has received the Princeton Review's highest "green" rating among universities in Illinois, tied with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As one of the country’s most environmentally-responsible colleges, IIT has been selected for inclusion in a unique resource created for college applicants - "The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges."
Developed by The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” is the first, free comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education who have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.
IIT is dedicated to becoming the most sustainable, urban university campus in the United States through applied scholarship and a commitment to implementing real, common sense solutions to environmental issues. In 2008 the university established the Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability, responsible for documenting, reporting, and monitoring sustainability projects on campus, and the Wanger Institute of Sustainable Energy Research (WISER), which seeks to preserve natural resources and the environment by exploring clean and alternative energy production.
"IIT has taken huge strides toward our goal of becoming the nation's most sustainable urban campus," said IIT Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability Director Joseph Clair. "We are proud to be included among these other outstanding universities and colleges nationwide, and to help lead the way to a more sustainable future in Illinois."
IIT has enlisted the entire university community in its efforts, holding monthly sustainability forums and involving students, faculty and staff every step of the way, from the formation of IIT's sustainability policies and commitments to holding a "green office challenge" in 2010, in which university departments compete to implement more sustainable practices within their offices. The winning office will be awarded $10,000 for green renovations.
IIT has undertaken the retrofitting of buildings in order to improve energy efficiency and lessen the school’s carbon footprint. In 2009, IIT installed a high efficiency hot water/steam plant on campus, effectively reducing its carbon emissions by 2.8 million pounds and carbon dioxide emissions by 10.4 million pounds annually. All new buildings on campus will be LEED certified, and IIT is looking to achieve LEED certification on its existing buildings.
Especially noteworthy is IIT’s recycling program, Hawk Recycling, through which the school expects recycling efforts will save 750 cubic yards of recyclable materials from the landfill every year. The university recently competed in the College and University Recycling Council's (CURC) Recyclemania challenge, finishing in the top 25% of universities nationwide in both the Grand Champion competition and Waste Minimization competition.
IIT has long-standing experience in green energy research, education and training, culminating in the establishment of WISER and more than $25 million in funding for current smart grid and wind energy projects. Current projects include the $12 million installation of Perfect Power—IIT's on-campus smart grid implementation—in addition to the $8 million ARRA-funded Wind Energy Consortium to forward the integration of wind power in the US and implement and study an on-campus wind turbine.
IIT also looks to encourage its students to explore environmentally proactive professional fields through energy and sustainability-focused specializations, minors, and degree programs. Green-minded students enrolled in the Stuart School of Business can take advantage of the school’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise, and graduate students in the College of Architecture can seek specialization in Sustainable New Cities.
IIT Office of Energy and Sustainability: http://www.iit.edu/campus_sustainability/